Is an L-1A visa approval required prior to obtaining an EB-1C visa approval if a company is looking to petition a multinational executive or manager?

The EB-1C visa and the L-1A visa are similar, but one major difference is that the L-1A visa is a non-immigrant visa, while individuals with an EB-1C visa approval would qualify for permanent residency in the United States. 

This makes the EB-1C visa more attractive to multinational companies and individuals. However, according to experienced California immigration lawyers at Jatoi & de Kirby, A.P.C., the approval process for an L-1 visa tends to be less burdensome. 

The L-1A visa is not a prerequisite for the EB-1C visa, and approval of an L-1A visa does not automatically guarantee approval of an EB-1C visa. Further, a multinational corporation may file an EB-1C petition directly as long as all of the requirements are met.

However, a company may choose to petition for an L-1A visa because the requirements are not as strict as the EB-1C visa. In particular, under the EB-1C visa requirements, the U.S. company is required to have been in “substantial operation” for one year prior to applying for the EB-1C visa. 

As explained by an immigration lawyer in California, this means that if your California office is looking to petition for an EB-1C visa for an executive or manager, it must have an established corporate structure in the United States for at least one year with a reasonable number of employees. The revenue of this U.S. business must have then led to the need for a manager or executive to head operations.